Amid current conditions, for Moscow "it is hard to wage the third gas war" against Ukraine, since it would inflict image losses for Russia, as well as heavy losses to Gazprom, Mykhailo Honchar, the director of energy programs at Nomos Centre, expressed this opinion at a press conference in Kyiv.

"If the first ['gas war' in 2006 - ed.] could still be considered an occasional, and the second [in 2009 - ed.] spawned many questions in the West [though nothing less than to Ukraine], the third will have confirm that it has become an established practice, and this is a certain use of natural gas infrastructure as a political weapon," the expert said, UKRINFORM reported.

At the same time, he did not rule out the possibility of a "third gas war" between Russia and Ukraine. "In general I do not exclude such a scenario," Honchar said adding that it might be a repetition of the scenario in 2006, when the supply of gas to the EU was not halted, except for Ukraine.

In his view, the "gas war" will depend on the situation in the fourth quarter of 2011, when Kyiv will pay, according to the expert, about USD 400 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. He believes that the Russian side has so far no ready-made solution.

Honchar does not rule out that Gazprom will agree to amend the existing contract to reduce gas prices for Ukraine. He believes that the Russian gas monopoly may venture on this step amid the world trend for the reduction in oil prices, and hence gas, as well as reducing the consumption of blue fuel in Europe.

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